This blog post originally appeared in our October 2015 Ezine and is by guest writer
One of the most disturbing, unsolved murder cases in the US is that of Evelyn Consuela Roseman. A masseur and stripper from San Francisco she had taken a holiday hiking alone in Yosemite National Park in California. On the 19th of October 1968, three hikers found her batted body near the base of Nevada Fall. Investigators determined that she had been thrown off the 594 Fall. The waters were very low and she had not been swept off. Her trousers had been pulled down and her top pulled up. The body was so far from the Fall that the investigates concluded she had been thrown rather than fallen. The body had then been dragged some distance and the clothing disturbed. A post-mortem reveals she had died from massive internal damage due to the impact. More disturbingly there were bloodless lacerations inside her vagina, showing that the body had been sexually interfered with after death.
The horrific story begs the question just what has the strength to pick up a full grow woman and hurl her so far off the edge of a fall. The strength seems to be far, far beyond anything human. DNA profiling was not used by the police until 1985. One wonders if it had been in use back in 1968 what samples from this poor woman’s body might have shown us. I would put money than any semen found inside her would not have been human.
The horrific story begs the question just what has the strength to pick up a full grow woman and hurl her so far off the edge of a fall. The strength seems to be far, far beyond anything human. DNA profiling was not used by the police until 1985. One wonders if it had been in use back in 1968 what samples from this poor woman’s body might have shown us. I would put money than any semen found inside her would not have been human.
Cases of fatal attacks on humans by cryptids are very, very rare but there are a number of claimed instances were monsters have killed, people. In this article, I will give an overview of some of these cases starting with man-like or ape-like beast reported from around the world.
In Australia, the yeti-like yowie was portrayed as a monstrous foe of the early Aborigines in their early legends. The stories recall the trolls and ogres of European law. The brutish beasts are defeated by the humans employing their wits over the yowies brawn. They speak of many human deaths in the old battles. Occasionally there are hair-raising modern accounts of aggressive yowies that have perused terrified witnesses, but physical harm is rare.
In 1910 two men were walking in the Victoria Falls area of the Blue Mountains when a ten-foot gorilla-like creature emerged from the bush and attacked them. It hurled a large rock smashing the skull of one man as his friend fled. When the survivor returned with a party of armed men and dogs the body was gone, only bloodstains remaining.
Tony Healy and Paul Cropper recount a disturbingly suggestive tale in their excellent book The Yowie; In Search of Australia’s Bigfoot. They heard it from fellow yowie investigator Neil Frost. In the 1990s Neil interviewed the Blue Mountains based lawyer who in the 1970s had discovered a decapitated body in the bush behind the Warrimoo Bush Fire Station. The police said the man’s head had not been cut off but had been literally torn from his body and was found fifty feet away! Was it a yowie? We shall probably never know but such a creature would certainly be capable of ripping off a man’s head.
Moving on to North America, the Sasquatch is generally thought of as a shy creature that shows little aggression. However, there is an increasing amount of evidence to suggest that, like most wild animals, it is quite capable of becoming dangerous.
In his book, Wilderness Hunter former US President Theodor Roosevelt recounted a story told to him in 1892 by a grizzled old trapper called Bauman. Fifty years before Bauman and a friend had been trapping in the Bitterroot Mountains between the Salmon and Wisdom rivers in Idaho. The area had an unpleasant reputation as a year before a trapper called Cluey had been killed and half is eaten by an unknown predator.
The men found their camp in disarray on returning from their first day of trapping. They assumed it was the work of a bear. However, that night an upright walking, foul-smelling creature attacked their stand to shelter. Bauman shot at the monster but it slipped into the shadows. All night it circled the camp making harsh, grating long-drawn outcries.
In the morning the scared men decided to head back to civilization. Bauman went to collect the traps whilst his friend packed up the camp. On returning, Bauman found the camp strangely quiet. He found his friend’s body by a spruce long. His neck had been broken and fang marks in his throat. The corpse was not eaten but Bauman had the feeling that the creature had thrown the body around like a toy then rolled over and over in it in delight. He fled on horseback, riding through the night. He never returned to the Bitterroot Mountains.
In 1920 one Albert Petka of Nulato, Alaska was supposedly attacked by a ‘bushman’. Petka lived alone on his boat with his dogs. The dogs drove the hairy monster away but the man died of internal bleeding.
An almost identical story occurred 23 years later when John Mire, known as ‘The Dutchman ‘staggered into Ruby Alaska and told of how he was attacked by a bushman at his remote cabin. His dogs had driven the beast away but like Petka, before him, he died of internal bleeding.
In his compelling and disturbing series of books ‘Missing 411’ researcher and former cop David Paulides chronicles strange disappearances in National Parks in the USA, Canada, and other areas. Some of these sound like attacks by a sasquatch.
In Russia and the former USSR, the man-beast called the almost seems smaller and more human-like than the Yeti, Sasquatch or yowie. It may be an early offshoot of Homo erectus it is noted for lack of aggression unless cornered or provoked. Indeed when I was searching for the almasty in the Caucasus mountains few seemed to fear it and some had even left food out for it.
In the autumn of 1925 Major General Mikhail Topilsky and his scouting party was tracking down a group of anti-Soviet guerrillas operating in the Western Pamirs. The guerrillas were trying to shake them off by heading to Sinkiang via the Eastern Pamirs. On their way through the Vanch district, the Major and his men heard stories of man-like monsters in the mountains but dismissed them as folklore.
A little later on they came across what looked like tracks made by bare human feet in the permanent snowline. The band’s dog refused to follow the scent. They ran across the path and some 150 meters to a sheer cliff that no human could climb. At this point, they found dung that contained dry berries.
Continuing on their pursuit the Major and his men caught up with the guerrillas in a cave. A glacier had been split apart by a stone cliff and the upper tongue of the glacier overhung the cliff. The cave was in the stone cliff. The men surrounded the cave and put up a machine gun. One of the men tossed a grenade in the direction of the cave. Shortly after one of the guerrillas ran out shouting at them to stop. He said that any more shooting would cause the ice to cave in.
The Major demanded that they surrendered and the man asked for time to talk it over with his colleagues. He returned to the cave but soon after an ominous hissing noise began. Fearing an attack the machine gunner opened fire.
Splinters of ice began to cascade down and fell upon the fugitives as they tried to escape from the mouth of the cave. Three of the men were killed by falling ice and two more by bullets. One man was wounded but survived. He turned out to be an Uzbek teahouse owner from Samarkand. When questioned he told a strange story.
Whilst they had been discussing Major’s order of surrender they had been attacked by a group of hairy, man-like beasts wielding clubs and howling inarticulately. The creatures had clubbed one man to death and attacked the others. The survivor had been beaten on the shoulder. He had fled from the cave entrance with the monster in pursuit. The Wildman had been killed in the hail of fire and buried under the falling ice.
They cleared away the debris and found the creature dead with its club nearby. It had been shot three times. The team’s doctor made an examination of the body and it was clearly not a human but it did not seem like an ape either.
Topilsky described it thus…
“The body belonged to a male creature 165-175 centimetres(5 feet 4 inches to five feet 5 inches) tall, elderly or even old, judging by the greyish colour of the hair in several places. The chest was covered with brownish hair and the belly with greyish hair. The hair was longer but sparser on the chest and close-cropped and thick on the belly. In general, the hair was very thick, without any underfur. There was the least hair on the buttocks, from which fact our doctor deduced the creatures sat like a human being. There was most hair on the hips. The knees were completely devoid of hair and had callous growths on them. The whole foot including the sole was quite hairless and covered with a hard brown skin. The shoulders and arms were also covered with hair which got thinner near the hands, and the palms had none at all, only callous skin.
The colour of the face was dark and the creature had neither beard or moustache. The back of the head was covered by thick, matted hair. The dead creature lay with its eyes open and its teeth bared. The eyes were dark and the teeth were large and even and shaped like human teeth. The forehead was slanting and the eyebrows were very powerful. The prominent cheekbones made the face resemble the Mongol type of face. The nose was flat, with a deeply sunk bridge. The ears were hairless and looked a little more pointed than a human being’s with a longer lobe. The lower jaw was very massive.
The creature had a very powerful broad chest and well-developed muscles. We didn’t find any anatomical differences between it and a man. The genitalia was like a man’s. The arms were of normal length, the hands were slightly wider and the feet much wider and shorter than a man’s.”
The last surviving rebel died two days later. Topilsky and his team thought of skinning the creature but it looked too much like a man. Instead, they buried it where they found it. Fear of another cave-in stopped them investigating the cavern.
The group moved south, crossed a river and left the mountains. Later they met with local people known as the Baluchi who were amazed that the soldiers had come down from such a place inhabited by man-like monsters.
The most famous mystery ape is the Yeti. There are said to be several species differing in hight. Some say the beast is no threat to man but others fear it. The creatures may be surviving specimens of the giant ape Gigantopithecus Blacki, mainland orang-utans or relations of the smaller orang-pendek of Sumatra. Contrary to the popular and utterly false image, the yeti has black, brown or reddish hair, not white.
In 1900, whilst the stringing of the first telegraph line from Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, to Kalimpong, Darjeeling in Bengal Province of India just south of the Sikkim border British officials noted the disappearance of a dozen workers near Jelep-la. A military posse was sent out to search for them. Rumour had it that they had been killed by a Yeti. No trace of them was found but a huge yeti was seen sleeping under an outcrop of rock. The ten-foot beast was shot and its body packed in ice and shipped to the senior British political officer then resident in Sikkim, Sir Charles Bell. No one knows what became of the body. John A. Keel wrote that an old Indian soldier who saw it said ‘it was 3 meters in height with hairs from 7 to 8 cm length, an alarming face without hairs, yellow and sharp-edged teeth, red and cold eyes.’
In 1949 a Sherpa called Lakmpa Tenzing was said to have been torn to shreds by a yeti at a remote pass in Nanga Parbat but there were no witnesses and his attacker may well have been a bear.
I have tracked the yeti in the Garo hills of North India and seen its tracks. Whilst it appears not to have killed anyone in the area the people of the mountain tribes fear it greatly and many told me of how they fled when they encountered it.
The 1950s the Kathmandu Chronicle reported ahead of the yeti was kept in a monastery in Chilunka, 50 miles North of Kathmandu, supposedly that of one killed by Nepali soldiers, 31 of whom had been killed by the creature of the creature. According to the story, it took 20 rounds to kill the Yeti.
The orang-pendek of Sumatra is much smaller than most other mystery apes at 3-5 feet. I have searched for this beast many times and found its hair, heard its call and seen its footprints and handprints. It seems to be a new species of ground-dwelling orang-utan.There are very few cases of it getting aggressive. One tribal leader of the Kubu, the Sumatran aborigines told me he was chased by one after he alarmed it but usually the creatures seem to have a healthy fear of man.
In the early 1930s, a group of Kubu is said to have stumbled across a group of orang-pendeks in a cave near the boundary of Ogan Ulu and Komering Ulu. The apes attacked the humans killing all but one of them. This was said to have occurred on a mountain called Bukit Nanti.
Giant man-like or ape-like monsters haunt South and Central America too.
Whilst searching for giant anaconda in Guyana back in 2007 I was told a remarkable tale by Damon Corrie an Arawak chief. Just three years earlier two native children, a brother, and sister were walking home from school some miles from the village of Pakuri (they lived in the next village). A huge hairy ‘man’ emerged from a stand of trees and seized the girl, she was never seen again. The police did not bother to investigate, the victim was ‘only ‘a native. These yeti-like beasts are called di-di in South America.
Italian archaeologist Pino Turolla was told a bloody story by an Indian guide in Venezuela. Antonio, the man in question had gone with his two sons to the Pacaraima Range. As they approached the savannah three lumbering, ape-like beasts with smallish heads and long arms attacked them with clubs killing his younger son. Some six months later Turolla persuaded Antonio and some other Indians to show him the area in question. They heard shrill roars and the natives would go no further. Turolla himself claimed to have glimpsed an 8-foot, ape-like, lumbering form.
But monster apes are not the only cryptids to have fatally attacked humans.
The Mongolian death worm is a crawling horror much feared by the nomads of the Gobi. Known as the Olgoi-khorkhoi or intestine worm it is a brick red, sausage-shaped creature 2-5 feet long that is said to emerge after rainfall. Stories tell of it spiting a corrosive yellow saliva and generating blasts of electricity like an electric eel. One story recounts a geologist who was electrocuted by a death worm whilst setting up a theodolite in a sand dune. However, no details of who this person was have ever been forthcoming.
On my own expedition in search of the beast, I found that the nomads discounted the electrical powers of the deathworm (throwing lightning they called it) but thought it spat a deadly poison. None of the witnesses I spoke to had been attacked by the worm but one man heard of a young girl killed by its venom once more there were no details. The creature engenders great fear though and a sighting can send whole communities into a panic. The Olgoi-khorkhoi is likely to be a worm lizard or amphisbaena, a group of burrowing reptiles related to but distinct from snakes and lizards.
Villagers in Tanzania once went in dread of a bloodthirsty beast known as the Mngwa or “Strange One”. It is a grey, brindle patterned cat the size of a lion. Englishman Captain William Hitchins was the magistrate of the village of Lidi. He dismissed the native fears as folklore until one night in 1922. Goods for the market were left in the village square overnight and watchmen set to oversee them. One night the watchman vanished. His body was found under a stall, it had been ripped to shreds. In the dead man’s fist was a handful of brindled grey hair. An old native district governor recognized the hair as that of the Mngwa. The beast had visited his village several times in his youth. Two eyewitnesses came forward and claimed to have seen a huge brindled cat attacking the man. A few nights later another watchman was killed, the two clutched a handful of grey hair. Over the following month, there were more killings up and down the coast. Then they abruptly stopped.
Then in 1930, the beast was back and a new wave of killings began One experienced hunter was badly mauled but survived. He was brought to Hitchins on a litter in the village of Mchinga. He had hunted leopard and lion all his life and insisted his attacker was neither of these.
In another case, western hunter Patrick Bowen investigated a case in which a Mngwa had carried off a young native boy. He found brindled fur on a thorn bush and tracks that looked like a leopard track but was bigger than that of the largest lion.
Remaining in Africa there is another mystery predator much feared by the natives. The Nandi bear is said to be a powerful predator more feared than lions. They are reported to resemble stocky bears. The only known bear from the African continent was the Atlas Mountains brown bear that was hunted to extinction in the 1870s.The Nandi bear takes its name from the Nandi people and Nandi hills in Kenya. The creature is supposed to be fond of eating human brains and cracks open it’s victim’s skulls to get at its favourite morsels.
Geoffrey Williams, who took part in an expedition to the area in 1912 saw the creature and wrote of it in the Journal of the East Africa and Uganda Natural History Society.
Williams saw the beast whilst camped on an escarpment from a distance of no more than 90 feet. It was five teets tall in the sitting position and looked like bears he had recalled seeing in zoos but somewhat more stocky. The creature shambled away into the mist on all fours.
The Nandi people told him that sometime before, one of the creatures had gotten onto the roof of a native hut and ripped its way in. It killed all the people inside. The other tribesmen set fire to the hut and burned it down with the monster inside it.
A young Nandi boy looked at a copy of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Books and likened the bear Baloo to the Nandi bear.
Charles T. Stoneman, a noted big game hunter searched the Mau forests for the beast and was told that it entered native huts at night and killed people eating only their brains. Women gathering wood in the forest would go missing and later their bodies would be found always minus the tops of the skulls.
In 1925 villagers asked for the Kenyan government’s help after a Nandi bear carried off a six-year-old girl after forcing its way through a 2.50-meter thorn hedge and ripping through the mud wall of the hut. This is something no lion or leopard would do.
The man brought in to hunt the beast was none other than Captain William Hitchins whom we met earlier. Hitchins thought the creature had come from a rocky hill some miles from the village or the deep forest behind it. He set up camp on the hill but in the middle of the night the beast pulled down his tent and carried off his dog. Hitchens said the monster’s tracks were four times the size of a man’s hand and far larger than the biggest lion. He tracked the beast to the forest beyond the hill. Together with native hunters he searched the forest for weeks but never found the creature.
The Nandi bear might be descendent of a fossil species called Anoplotherium africanum. This was a huge, long-legged species of bear that lived in Africa until around five million years ago. It had the most powerful bite of any land mammal and hunted antelopes, zebras, and other large mammals. It is possible that a modern day strain of this super-predator is lurking in remote African forests from which it emerges at night to stalk its prey.
If you think the land is bad enough don’t think of going into the water where even more dangerous creatures lurk.
Most people who have studied the history of the Loch Ness Monster will be aware of the story of Saint Columba Confronting a man-eating monster in the River Ness and driving it away with the sign of the cross. The story is almost certainly apocryphal, spun to give the missionary more clout in converting Picts. However, there are a number of much more recent cases were aquatic monsters have supposedly killed people.
One sunny morning, on the 25th of March 1962, a group of children was walking along a beach several miles from Pensacola, Florida. They came upon what they thought was the drowned body of a teenaged boy. To there amazement, the youth was still alive, barely. He was rushed to Pensacola Naval Base Hospital suffering from shock, exposure, and exhaustion. He was identified as Edward Brian McCleary who had been missing since the previous morning along with fur friends. When he was strong enough he spoke to the Director of Search and Rescue Units E.E McGovern. His story was truly amazing, like something from a horror novel. McCleary claimed his companions had been killed by a sea serpent.
It began on the morning of 24th March 1962 when Edward along with Eric Rule, Warren Sulley, Brad Rice and Larry Bill set out to go diving at the wreck of the Massachusetts, several miles off the coast of Pensacola. As they rowed out on their 7-foot Air-Force life raft, they found that the tide was stronger than they had anticipated. Storm clouds began to gather and the boys decided to turn back. Several of them swam behind the raft and pushed it. As the waves grew higher, swamping the raft, they swam to a 20-foot buoy and clambered onto its metal scaffolding.
In the violent storm that followed the raft was sucked under and the buoy rocked by lashing winds and icy rain. Finally, the maelstrom passed and a fog rolled in as the sea became mill-pool calm. A foul smell, akin to dead fish filled the air. A strange wining cry echoed through the dark. Then something as long as a telegraph pole reared up out of the water and plunged back in.
The boys panicked and jumped off the raft. Behind them, they heard hissing and splashing. Suddenly Warren yelled out “Help me! It’s got Brad, its got Brad.”
Warren’s cries were abruptly cut short. The three remaining boys huddled together and tried to swim for shore. Then something grabbed Larry from below and dragged him under. Eric was becoming exhausted and Edward tried to help him stay afloat but the sea, now turning choppy again pulled them apart.
Then a monstrous, reptilian beast reared up from the deep. It had a snake-like neck, gleaning green eyes and a gaping mouth that fell down on Eric and dragged him under.
Swimming for his life and expecting to feel the sea dragons teeth in his flesh at any moment Edward became exhausted and felt the tranquillity of death take over him. He recalled nothing further until he was in the hospital. Unsurprisingly he suffered a breakdown afterward. The police decided it would be better for them all if they kept the sea dragon out of their official report but E.E.McGoven said to Edward “The sea has allotted of secrets. There are a lot of things we don’t know about. People don’t believe in these things because they are afraid to. Yes, I believe you. But there’s not much else I can do.”
Subsequently, Edward suffered a breakdown. Apparently, he still lives in the area today but refused to talk about the awful events that befell him and his friends on that fateful day.Attacks on humans by marine monsters are very uncommon but this case is one of the several exceptions.
Britain has masses of dragon legends; Somerset and the North East are particularly rich. Where do these tales spring from? One man who thinks he knows is a historian, Fortean researcher, and author Mike Hallowell. Mike had been researching the history of Marsden Grotto a pub that is built into the cliff face in Marsden Bay, South Shields. The pub was built in a cave blasted into the living rock with dynamite but it may be connected to a huge network of tunnels that occur naturally. In the pub itself is an old carving of the Lambton Worm, a serpent dragon that terrorized the area around the River Wear near Durham until it was slain by Sir John Lambton whilst dressed in a suit of armour studded with spikes.
The coast around Marsden was said, at the time of the Dane lore to be the haunt of a much-feared sea dragon called the Shony. Vikings would stop the beast attacking their longships by tossing a crew member overboard as a sacrifice to the beast. So the story goes this sacrifice became a kind of maritime worship and persisted long after the time of the Vikings. It was supposedly practiced by Scandinavian sailors. Half-eaten bodies were said to have washed by as far away as Lindisfarne. The cult of the Shony persisted around Marsden. Many landlords of the Marsden Grotto pub awoke to discover the sacrificial victims of the Shoney washed ashore on the beach outside the Grotto. The pub’s cellar was used as a makeshift morgue on many occasions. The bodies had their hands bound and throats slit. Some were half eaten.
According to Mike¹s informants, the last body was washed up in 1928! The idea of a dragon worship cult practicing human sacrifice in England well into the 20th century sounds like a plot line for Hammer Horror or Dr. Who. Mike has tried to access police records to check on this but because the county boundaries have change he is finding this hard. Both the local police forces insist that their records don¹t go back that far and that the other¹s do! Mike and his family saw what he believes to be the Shony in the waters off Marsden Bay. He described a brownish humped back, quite distinct from a whale, breaking the surface of the sea. More worryingly Mike has had threatening phone calls and e-mails warning him to drop the whole case and leave his investigations into the cult of the Shony well alone. Could a vestige of this cult still be active?
Moving into freshwater attacks from aquatic monsters are not unknown. Llyn-y-Gadair is a small round lake near to Snowdon. In the 18th century, a man decided to swim across it. His friends, who were waiting for him on the bank, were horrified to see a serpentine creature coiling after him as he swam. As he approached the shore the thing reared up and wound about him like a python. He was dragged back into the lake never to be seen again.
One of the most dramatic lake monster stories was that of a dragon-like creature inhabiting Lake Wembo (sometimes referred to as Member or Lake Wembu) in Tibet. In June of 1980 people living around the lake reported a house-sized creature with a long, scaly neck and large head. It was reputed to have destroyed boats and rafts and was supposed to have eaten a fisherman. It also devoured a yak tethered close to the lake that belonged to a communist party official. The link to Asian dragons, intimately associated with water, is obvious.
The Canadian lake monster known as Ogopogo to westerners was called N’ha-a-it by the Indians and was much feared. A serpentine beast of the great size it was said to have a horse like head and a spiny crest running along the side. The local tribes would carry some animal with them as a sacrifice to appease the lake dragon. The animals were tossed overboard so that the monster would eat them rather than attack the Indians canoes. One visiting chief called Timbasket ignored the rite. Apparently, he and his canoes were never seen again. In 1860 a trader called John McDougall was crossing the lake by canoe with his horses swimming in tow. He was horrified to see them being pulled underwater one by one and had to cut his ropes to avoid being dragged under himself.
Early white settlers carried guns to protect themselves against the beast when they were close to the shores of Lake Okanagan. In recorded cases of the creature being shot at the bullets seemed to have no effect whatsoever.
One of the thousands of early witness to the monster was Edythe March. She saw the serpentine animal three times during her life. She was also convinced that it had eaten her schoolteacher’s father.
“I had been told of Ogopogo by my father, Henry J Blurton, who worked as a game warden when I was a child. The Indians advised him never to go canoeing on the lake without first tying up a grouse or piece of venison behind the canoe as a precaution against Ogopogo upsetting it, for they believed that if an upset should occur the elusive monster would go after the bait rather than the man.
Our teacher’s father, who often went fishing at the northern end of the lake, failed to return one day. They found his boat on the lake right side up and all the fishing gear intact, but no Mr. Homuth. I truly believed Ogopogo had gotten him.”
Ogopogo has been liked with other disappearances as well. In 1932 Henry Murdoch was practicing a marathon swim for the Okanagan regatta. He was swimming from the Maud Roxby bird sanctuary point to the Eldorado Hotel. He was accompanied by his friend John Ackland who was rowing a boat about 20 feet ahead of him.
When Ackland reached the shore at Boyces Field Murdoch was nowhere to be seen despite being a strong swimmer and a lifeguard. There were no undercurrents in the area. A search failed to find his body.
A similar event happened in 1988 when Allan Skarbo and his friends were swimming from his houseboat. A breeze blew off a hat belonging to Dan Ker, he and another friend swam out to retrieve it. Despite being a strong swimmer he was never seen again. A protracted search with underwater cameras failed to find his body. The event scared Skarbo so much that he sold his houseboat and never went back to the lake.
A creature much like Ogopogo is said to lurk in Lake Superior. On Memorial Day 1977 Randy L Baun was camping at Presque Isle, north of Iron Wood, Michigan. Looking out across the lake he saw a long, undulating form approaching him. Baun described it as ‘like an anaconda the width of a Volkswagen.’ Grabbing his 35mm Yashica camera he took a shot at the beast’s horse-like head rose up. It had large eyes and twitching, catfish like whiskers. We should note here that oriental dragons, always associated with water rather than fire, are invariably shown with these appendages.
Baun’s photo shows a dark head with a large eye reflecting light. It remained in view for 30 seconds. Baun was frozen with fear and later had nightmares about the monster eating him. Apparently, there had been a number of disappearances in the area that had never been explained. Baun was sure the creature was responsible for devouring the missing people. He may or may not be right but in 1997 a fisherman claimed to have seen a full grown male deer get bittern clean in two by something in the water.
Howick Falls in South Africa is said to be the lair of a water dragon called Inkanyamba. It is said to be linked with rainfall like dragons elsewhere. In 1998 storms affected the Greytown, Ingwavuma and Pongola areas. 52 miles per hour winds and tennis ball sized hailstones made 2000 people homeless. Inkanyamba was blamed.
Cave paintings and Bushman rock art depict the god as a serpentine horse headed animal with horns and a crest running along its back. It is shown spewing water. Archaeologists have dubbed it ‘the rain animal’. Inkanyamba’s pedigree is a long one.
Conservation Services Manager Mr. Buthelezi was walking with a companion along the Umgein River near the Midmar Dam in 1962 when he claims to have seen the beast. The horse headed monster was on a sandbank and slithered back into the water as the men approached.
Johannes Hlongwane, caretaker of a caravan park near the falls says he has seen the dragon twice in, 1974 and again in 1981. He said it has a long, snake-like body thicker than his own. It raised its head 30 feet out of the water. It had a crest running along its back.
The local Zulus and their Sangomas (witch doctors) say that the god devours human victims and they have to appease it with chickens. Around 35 years ago Inkanyamba was said to have dragged a Zulu girl underwater and eaten her. To this day people vanish around Howick Falls. It could be the work of crocodiles or then again an even bigger reptile might be at work!
In West Africa, a similar aquatic beast known as Ninki-Nanka is blamed for human deaths. Back in 2006, I hunted for this beast in the swamps of Gambia. The level of fear the creature engendered was almost unbelievable. Our native guide refused point blank to enter the swamps were it was thought to lurk, leaving us to trek on alone to an abandoned village. The inhabitants had left the village decades before after one of them had reported a Ninki-Nanka.
One man told us his grandfather had seen it in some lakes near Banjul in the 1940s. It was a massive serpent with shining scales and a crest of a fin on the head. The man ‘Papa Jinda’ died soon after. There is a strong belief that to look on the dragon means death. A guide at Abuko National Park said that the Nink-Nanka was like a python but large enough to swallow a whole cow. It had small, bat-like wings and four small legs. Another witness, Momounadou claimed to have seen a Ninki-Nanka in Kiang West swamps a few years before. He described a horse like head with a crest and a vast serpentine body covered with scales that shone like mirrors. Afterwards, he fell ill and his body was covered in lesions. He went to see a local iman or holy man who said instantly ‘you have seen a dragon, haven’t you? ‘The man gave him a potion that cured him. These cases may simply be psychosomatic but the creature has supposedly killed people with physical attacks as well. One story tells of a recently erected bridge that was built near a hole was a Ninki-Nanka was supposed to live. The angry monster was said to have emerged and smashed the bridge to matchwood tossing two people fatally into the waters.
Afterwards, he fell ill and his body was covered in lesions. He went to see a local iman or holy man who said instantly ‘you have seen a dragon, haven’t you? ‘The man gave him a potion that cured him. These cases may simply be psychosomatic but the creature has supposedly killed people with physical attacks as well. One story tells of a recently erected bridge that was built near a hole was a Ninki-Nanka was supposed to live. The angry monster was said to have emerged and smashed the bridge to matchwood tossing two people fatally into the waters.
Another possible man-eater lurks in the Hawkesbury River, north of Sydney, Australia, an area much too far south for crocodiles that are found only in Australia’s tropical north. The Aborigines called the water monster Mirreeulla and art from the Dharuk tribe dating back 3000-5000 years depicts the beast
In 1949 a young couple boating on the river saw a full-grown bull dragged into the water by a monster with a 20-foot long neck and a 3-foot head. The girl screamed hysterically and they boy rowed away as fast as possible. The farmer later found blood stains and drag marks on the sandbank.
In May 1967 a farmer near the town of Spencer was overlooking his cattle as they drank from the river. Suddenly a huge reptilian head and neck exploded from the water and sized a cow. The creature effortlessly dragged the hapless bovine away.
In 1979 the monster was supposedly trapped for a while in the nearby Nepean River at Yarramundi near the junction with the Hawkesbury. Bushwalkers said they saw it take a cow here. The point is, if the Hawkesbury monster can drag off a bull so easily then what could it do to a human? The monster has, in fact, been blamed for a number of human deaths
In the mid-1970s a woman and a boy who had been rowing on the river vanished. The shattered remains of their boat were found a Broken Bay. Further inland two young couples vanished at Coal and Candle Creek. The smashed remains of their 20 foot, 200 horsepower boat was found overturned. Another man, from Sydney, went swimming in a lagoon near Ebenezer. The only part of him that was ever seen again was his hand that washed up on a sandbank.
In 1960 a policeman was among the guests in a yachting party at broken bay. He vanished without a trace whilst standing near the stern rail. One of the other guests said…
“One moment he was there. We all looked away when someone was talking, and when one of us looked back he was gone. There was a disturbance in the river as if something had come up out of the water and snatched him.”
Another incident happened in 1977. A fishing party was enjoying the view from their boat one afternoon, just east of Brooklyn. Then they noticed that one of their party who had been standing at the stern had vanished. Once again there was a big disturbance in the water.
Some of these incidents may have been an accident that had nothing to do with the creature but it is worth noting that the Hawkesbury River monster is said to have rammed houseboats on the river several times.
Most recently, a lake in southern Siberia has been the setting for a series of events that run like the plot of a horror movie. One of Russia’s largest lakes seems to be the home a large, powerful and dangerous creature that locals say has killed 19 fishermen. Lake Chany is virtually unknown in the west but it is a vast expanse of water covering 770 square miles. It is 57 miles long by 55 miles wide but is fairly shallow at only 23 feet deep with an average depth of only 6 feet. Lake Chany is in the southern part of the province of Novosibirsk Oblast close to the borders of Kazakhstan.
The creature involved in the attacks is described as serpentine and huge. The beast claimed its latest victim, a 59-year-old fisherman last week. 60-year-old Vladimir Golishev was in the boat then the creature overturned it and dragged his friend away. He told the Daily Mail…
“I was with my friend some 300 yards from the shore. He hooked something huge on his bait and stood up to reel it in. But it pulled with such force it overturned the boat. I was in shock-I had never seen anything like it in my life. I pulled off my clothes and swam for the shore, not daring to hope I would make it. He didn’t make it and they have found no remains. It’s time to find out the truth.”
In 2007 a 23-year-old special services soldier, Mikhail Doronin was lost when something capsized his boat. His 80-year-old grandmother Nina was watching from the shore and said that the lake was calm. Her husband 81-year-old husband Vladimir said, “Something on an awesome scale lives in the lake, but I have never seen it.”
Official figures say that 19 people have vanished in the lake in the past three years. Locals say the figure is actually much higher and that remains have washed ashore with bite marks showing large teeth.
Fishermen have demanded an official probe but the authorities passed off the deaths as ‘drownings’.
A blurry photograph purporting to show part of the monster was released at the same time as the main story. Like most cryptid pictures it is far from clear but may show a fin protruding above the water.
The creature could be a gigantic eel or alternatively something unknown to science. It may be a giant semi-aquatic reptile, possibly one that hibernates in winter. The case brings to mind medieval stories of lake and mire dwelling dragons. The long and short of it is that as it stands there is too little information on which to make a decent guess at the nature of the beast.
Other, more remote lakes in Siberia are also said to have man-eating monsters in residence. Lake Labynkyr lies on Sorongnakh Plateau in Eastern Siberia. It is a big lake nine miles long and 800 feet deep. Despite being in one of the coldest regions on earth, the lake never freezes, maintaining a temperature of 2 degrees Celsius. Labynykr also has an evil reputation. Locals are convinced that The Devil inhabits the lake. Gun dogs that have leaped into the water to retrieve shot ducks have been eaten by the monster. One man told of how the brute pursued his raft. He described a dark grey beast with an enormous mouth. Some reindeer hunters observed the monster coil up out of the water to snatch a passing bird.
Author Gennady Borodulin also recounts a tale from Labynkyr in the 1920s in his book In a Trip to the Cold Pole. An Evenk family of nomads followed their reindeer and reached the shore of Lake Labynkyr. They decided to stay overnight on the shore. A five-year-old child went to the bank of a stream which led into the lake while adults were busy. Suddenly the adults heard the boy screaming.
“The father and grandfather rushed to the bank. They stopped on the edge of the water and saw the child being carried away by an unknown animal to the center of the lake. It was a dark creature, with a mouth looking like bird’s beak. It held the child and moved away with quick rushes, then it dived leaving huge waves and dragged the child under the water.
The granddad swore to revenge the ‘devil’. He took a sack made of animal skin, stuffed it with reindeer fur, rags, dry grass and pine trees needles, put a smoldering piece of wood inside. He attached the sack to a huge stone on shore with a rope and then threw the sack far into the waters of the lake. At night there was noise and splashes and terrible screams of the ‘devil’. In the morning the waves brought the huge dead animal, about seven meters long with a huge jaw, almost one-third size of the body, and relatively small legs and fins. The old man cut the animal’s stomach, took out the body of his grandson, and buried him on the bank of the stream. Since then this stream is called ‘The Stream of a Child’.
In 1963 a small expedition visited both of these lakes. Four members observed an object 800 meters out on Lake Labynkyr. It emerged and submerged several times. They could not take photographs as the sun was setting. The following year three teams, each replacing the other in shifts visited the lakes. The third and final group saw the Labynkyr monster in the latter half of August.
Two expedition members saw a row of three humps 100 meters from shore. They ran after the humps trying (unsuccessfully) to photograph them. The humps dived and rose together. It was not clear if they were separate animals or parts of one creature.
In 1964 two journalists from the Italian magazine Epoca visited Lake Labynky whilst traveling to Oymyakon. They were told that sometime before a party of men saw a reindeer swim into the lake. The deer vanished and did not resurface. Then a dog swam on and vanished as well. Suddenly, and shrouded in a mist, a vast black monster rose snorting from the lake. One of the observers, apparently a scholar, was convinced the beast was a dinosaur. The locals flatly refused to take the journalists out onto the lake.
The green anaconda of South America is the largest known snake reaching around thirty feet in length and living almost exclusively in water. There are persistent stories of snakes far larger in the rivers and swamps of tropical South America.
A few years ago an anaconda said to be forty-five feet long attacked three-year-old Danial Menezes. His father, a hunter, and fisherman called Joao had turned his back on the boy for a moment as he stored some fish in a wooden shack. The snake clamped its jaws on the boy, and his father could not prize them apart. He ran to get help but by the time he returned the monster snake had swallowed the child.
A dramatic story from the 1950s involved the CIA. The political climate with its upsurgence of communism in Latin America was such that the US government placed CIA agents in sensitive areas. One agent called ‘Lee’ was told of a giant cattle eating serpent in Bolivia. A farmer told him the 33-foot snake had eaten ten natives and countless cows over the years. It would emerge from a cave seeking its prey from time to time. Lee came up with an audacious plot to capture the monster and sell it to a zoo. He planned to force the beast out with tear gas whilst covering the mouth of the cave with a long canvas tube that he had specially made with zippers at both ends. Together with two friends, Lee smoked the beast out and into the sack that was then zipped up. They had not reckoned on the strength of a creature that is, in essence, a tube of muscle with teeth at one end. The anaconda tore free from its canvas prison.
Despite all of these strange and disturbing cases, I have never once felt afraid of the monsters I was hunting on any of my cryptozoological expeditions. I find it more daunting getting through airports and finding connections! You are far more likely to to be killed in your hometown in an accident than by some monster in a far-flung part of the world!
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